John Walton: Lost World of the Israelite Conquest

Date(s) - July 8, 2019
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Regent College Chapel

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Holy warfare is the festering wound on the conscience of Bible-believing Christians. Of all the problems the Old Testament poses for our modern age, this is the one we want to avoid in mixed company. But do the so-called holy war texts of the Old Testament portray a divinely inspired genocide? Did Israel slaughter Canaanites at God’s command? Were they enforcing divine retribution on an unholy people? These texts shock. And we turn the page. But have we rightly understood them? What happens when we take new approaches, frame new questions? When we weigh again their language and rhetoric? Were the Canaanites punished for sinning against the covenanting God? Does the Hebrew word herem mean “devote to destruction”? How are the Canaanites portrayed and why? And what happens when we backlight these texts with their ancient context? This talk will attempt to recalibrate our perception and reframe our questions. While not attempting to provide all the answers, it offers surprising new insights and clears the ground for further understanding.

John Walton is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is the author of numerous journal articles, as well as reference books, text books, monographs, and popular books—including The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament (General Editor), The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate,  The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins DebateAncient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament; and The Tiny Tots Bible Story Book.

This lecture is part of our 2019 Summer Evening Public Lecture Series.

Dr. Walton will be teaching the class “Wrecked: Sitting with Job When your World Falls Apart” from July 8–12, 2019 as part of our 2019 Summer Programs. Learn more at

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